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Would You Consider Weight Loss Surgery to Lose Just 20 Pounds?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/17/2012 2:00 PM   :  210 comments   :  37,644 Views

Last week I spent time in the hospital with my father-in-law after he had fallen on Easter and had to be admitted due to a fractured arm which for many of us would have required surgery but because of his age and surgical risk, his orthopedic surgeon stated that all we could do is allow time to let it heal on its own. Sitting with my father-in-law allowed me some time to catch up on some long overdue reading. While I do enjoy reading all I can about health and fitness, especially running, I do enjoy reading for pleasure as well. And as luck would have it the new addition of Glamour magazine was at my beck and call.

As I skimmed through the May issue of Glamour I was intrigued by the article titled, The Shocking New Surgery to Lose Just 25 Pounds. While many of us have heard of gastric bypass and lap-band procedures for those looking to lose a good amount of weight, I have never heard of such a surgery for those wanting/needing to lose less than 100 pounds. The POSE (Primary Obesity Surgery, Endoluminal) procedure, according to their website, is aimed at those individuals looking to lose between 20 and 70 pounds.

The Glamour article features a patient from Louisiana who dropped from 160 pounds to 128 pounds (32 pounds) in about 6 months time. The surgery known as POSE is performed under general anesthesia and takes about an hour whereby the surgeon basically folds the stomach lining over anchoring it in place with sutures. By decreasing the patient's stomach size, the patient should get fuller faster  which in turn decreases the patient's hunger. Because this procedure uses an endoscope (a tube that is run down the patient's mouth), you do not see any visible incisions which according to the POSE website, "should lessen complications, shorten the patient's recovery time, lessen hunger and bring long-lasting weight loss results."

The one advantage this procedure has over the others mentioned earlier is that the patient does not have to radically alter his/her way of eating. They are able to eat the same foods they did prior to this procedure just less of them. However, because this procedure has only been performed on 90 patients, according to the Glamour article, the long-term effects remain to be seen.

You may be asking at what price would this procedure set you back?

According to the Glamour article the surgery runs about $11,600. As to whether or not this new procedure is covered under insurance, according to the POSE website this "procedure is currently pending financial approval of insurance providers."

I took some time out to review the success stories on the POSE website. The three women featured who have had this surgery all lost less weight than I did and not any faster than I did. Featured patients are Megan who lost 21 pounds, Charlotte who lost 19 pounds in three months and Cindy who lost 50 pounds in 18 months.

These women did not see the drastic weight loss many of us have read about from others having the more invasive procedures. But in all fairness, they did not have a lot of weight to lose to begin with.The weight loss seems more in-line with what many of us have experienced doing so the old fashioned way-- tracking our nutrition and exercise, BUT at a much cheaper price tag.

After reading this article there are a number of concerns I can see about going to such an extreme to lose this amount of weight. For one, because the procedure has only been performed since 2009 and on fewer than 100 patients, do the doctors know what the long-term results will be? Can the patient learn to override his/her hunger and just eat for eating sake?

As many of us know, our weight is the result of many complex issues-- eating more than our bodies need, not moving our bodies like we should, but most importantly using food as a crutch to get through life when life gets tough. While this procedure can tackle the first issue, what about the other issues? Exercise and learning to manage stress have to be addressed and this isn't done in the operating room.

Secondly, while the surgery may be performed without any external incisions there is still a risk for infection as well as the risk for undergoing general anesthesia. Would you be willing to undergo such a procedure to lose weight that cannot be guaranteed to last a life-time? And what happens if you regain the weight? What are the long-term effects?

Lastly, after reviewing the website, I was not able to locate any information as to what dietary advice these patients receive once they go home. Because they do not have to alter the types of food  they choose to eat, just the portion size, I wonder if after having this procedure these patients suddenly find the need to eat a healthy balanced diet or just eat smaller portion of less healthy foods?

Doing a little math, I calculated that for the $11,600 price tag (not including travel expenses to New Orleans where this procedure is done), to lose 30 pounds would cost you in the ball park of $387 PER pound and no guarantee as to how long the results would last. For that price you could join a gym, hire a trainer, buy lots of healthy foods and not have to undergo such a drastic procedure for just a few pounds.

Would you have surgery to lose 20, 40, 60, even 70 pounds? Would you be willing to spend upwards of $11,000 plus travel expenses to have this procedure without a guarantee of life-long results?
 
 
 


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Comments

  • 210
    20lbs? I didn't even consider surgery as an option when I had 50lbs to lose! Add another 50, and I still would have changed my lifestyle before considering it. It's not worth the risk, the pain, the potential complications, AND it doesn't teach you how to stay smaller once you get there. It's not just about weight, surgery doesn't teach you how to be healthier.

    If I were going to get any weight loss related surgery, it'd be if I had a lot of extra skin that was uncomfortable, and couldn't be removed otherwise. Not an issue though since I didn't lose a lot of weight super fast, and I started while I was young enough for it to bounce back. - 6/19/2014   12:05:16 PM
  • 209
    Most of the Dr's won't do it unless your 100 pounds over weight - 5/20/2013   2:36:44 PM
  • DETOX55
    208
    Absolutely NO WAY. I suspect that many people opting for such surgery may find they regain even more weight afterwards as many will still have very unhealthy habits...

    Also, the scars resulting from surgery are usually major...even keyhold surgery results in scars...that is NOT a good look in my opinion.... - 4/17/2013   10:43:56 PM
  • ANDREAL39
    207
    No. There are too many unknowns with this new procedure. I need to/would like to lose 100 pounds. I considered lapband surgery, but, luckily in a way, my insurance would not cover the procedure.

    I am learning that a healthy lifestyle takes commitment and constant discipline and follow-through. I keep stumbling, but I keep getting back up and trying again, learning more about myself each time, and gathering more coping tools, much thanks to Sparkpeople. - 3/30/2013   8:26:09 PM
  • 206
    Nope. - 3/2/2013   10:19:56 PM
  • 205
    If I were going to blow $11K on weight loss, I'd hire a personal chef service to stock my house with the healthy foods I love. I don't actually prefer junk food to good food, it's just junk food is often easy. - 2/10/2013   3:40:44 AM
  • JOEFORE
    204
    Having weight-loss surgery because of obesity is a major decision that will alter your life forever. It changes what and how much you can eat. Youíll have to swap your normal-size meals for small portions that you eat slowly, and you may have to give up some of your favorite foods. But weight-loss surgery may be just what you need if youíre carrying around a significant amount of extra weight that you havenít been able to lose through diet and exercise.

    Thereís a misconception that anyone can decide to have weight-loss surgery. Bariatric surgery programs have a screening process to determine if this surgery is right for each patient. Screening starts with evaluating your body mass index, or BMI, a calculation based on your weight in relation to your height. Typically, men who have weight-loss surgery are 100 pounds or more overweight and women are 80 pounds or more overweight, are ideal candidates for weight loss surgery.

    More about weight loss surgery at www.forerunnershealthcare.com/weigh
    t-loss-surgery-India-low-cost-benef
    its.html


    - 5/15/2012   7:51:41 AM
  • 203
    No way! I can see for over 70 but 20. I lost 46 lbs in a little over a year by changing my job, a little exercise a day plus not as much junk food. I lost 33 lbs the first four months of my new job just because I now had stairs to go up to the bathroom and break room. - 5/13/2012   10:31:31 PM
  • 202
    no way..... - 5/1/2012   7:40:21 AM
  • 201
    No. I have a cousin that had weight loss surgery and she lost a lot of weight. Unfortunately, she put it all back on !!! Stomach stretches again. She is now doing her weight loss naturally ..... selecting right foods and has lost 35 pounds - 4/30/2012   12:46:46 PM
  • TNELLY37
    200
    No way, any kind of gastric bypass surgery could be dangerous. I would only consider it as a last resort, for example if I were over 300 lbs or more. - 4/28/2012   2:20:48 AM
  • 199
    NO WAY! I didn't consider it when I had 100 pounds to lose. I certainly wouldn't consider it for 20 pounds. I have lost the first 30 and I can lose more with hard work and it will be much better for me in the long run. As a Nurse I have seen people who have had various weight loss surgeries, some lost a great deal of weight but many also had to deal with health issues related to digestion, inability to get enough of certain vitamins and minerals, and general gastric issues. For me it just isn't worth the risks. - 4/27/2012   8:56:45 AM
  • 198
    According to height/weight charts, I should weigh 115 - 120 lbs. That's 150+ pounds to lose. Even so, I shut my doctor down every time she brings up the subject of surgery. I tell her that she should be focusing on helping me get my HEAD right so that my body will follow the good decisions I make. That's the only real success. - 4/25/2012   8:10:20 PM
  • 197
    I would definitely consider surgery for 30-70 pounds. If I had all the money in the world. I have tried for years to lose the weight and no matter what I do. Always plateau to the same weight. - 4/25/2012   3:45:23 PM
  • NSC10443
    196
    WOW, so many negative comments from people who don 't know of what they speak. The "sleeve" surgery which is a stapling of part of the stomach, leaving a banana sized portion, is a wonderful surgery for people with 50 lbs or more to lose. It was discovered that the part of the stomach that is removed is the part that produces harmonies that cause hunger and cravings, unlike the band and bypass - 4/25/2012   12:28:51 AM
  • NSC10443
    195
    Wow, lots of comments from people who know not of what they speak.. This weight losy surgery - 4/25/2012   12:21:46 AM
  • 194
    No way. - 4/24/2012   8:13:40 PM
  • 193
    No I would not consider surgery. It is a better lifestyle I want to achieve and I don`t think you can get that through surgery.

    I also heard that there is another quick loss gimmick coming out in the US - it is the food tube. You have a food tube put through your nose and wear it for 10 days - carry around your liquid food. Gives you 500 calories a day and says you are never hungry but can you imagine walking around with that - going to work etc 24/7? And what happens when it is removed - same old eating habits are there! - 4/24/2012   7:24:43 PM
  • 192
    I certainly wouldn't use surgery to lose 20 pounds. I believe in eating "right" and exercise. I have had a lump out of my breast, a hip replacement, 3 hernia surgeries, and this past November my right knee replaced. I'm scheduled to get my left knee replaced as well. Thanks, but I don't think I'd have a surgery, I don't need, when I can lose the weight on my own. - 4/24/2012   12:38:18 PM
  • 191
    No! It's true all surgery has risks. I had a hysterectomy several years ago & have never been the same since. I'm at the point where I almost wish I never had the surgery, I have so much scar tissue now. You really have to weight the consequences! - 4/24/2012   11:37:12 AM
  • 190
    NOPE. plain and simple. - 4/24/2012   11:20:03 AM
  • 189
    Wow. I would NEVER consider such a thing. Surgery always comes with risks, plus it doesn't help the person lose weight in the long run, keep it off. But my first thought was just horrifying shock that not only people with such little weight to lose are doing such things, but that doctors came up with it in the first place. Aren't they supposed to do no harm? This sounds pretty harmful to me. - 4/24/2012   7:36:07 AM
  • 188
    Sounds like people with more money than brains... or taking the easy way out. If you don't learn to eat healthy, you'll just stretch your shrunken stomach just like so many gastric bypass patients. It's a short term fix & it doesn't work in the long run. - 4/24/2012   7:07:03 AM
  • 187
    No, I would not have this surgery, even though at times I dream of having my excess weight magically drop off and then I think about the fact that it took a lot of time to put this excess weight on and it is going to take time to take it back off. In my humble opinion, you are taking a big chance with your life, every time you go under the knife or endoscope, unless it is absolutely necessary. I far prefer the "Spark Way to Lose Weight". - 4/23/2012   10:40:22 AM
  • 186
    Scary that our society is so addicted to the quick-fix without change that people would seriously consider this. To be fair, I can't say no one ever should; a lifetime of yo-yo dieting is unhealthy, but just eating less of whatever put on all the pounds isn't guaranteed to make you healthier. Fewer chips? fatty fast foods? More of the same but less? I'll be I could think of 10 better things to do with all that money in a minute: travel somewhere I've always wanted to go, donate and thrill the socks off the local food pantry, get work done on the house, share it with my family, pay for a spay/neuter and wellness clinic at a pet shelter, buy a newer car for a friend who needs it, pay to have stuff done that my husband has no time for because of all the overtime he puts in, make inroads in paying off our house, enjoy alternative healthcare modalities I can seldom afford such as massage and acupuncture---well, two minutes. Anyway, in a nutshell, NO. - 4/23/2012   9:47:16 AM
  • 185
    I'll have this surgery when I start believing in fairy godmothers and unicorns.

    My health and well-being are damaged enough by the extra weight I carry. I just wouldn't add to the damage by having a surgery like this. And please, surgery to lose 20 lbs? You've got to be kidding. Who even considers that an option and why? - 4/22/2012   9:15:51 PM
  • FLYINGFLUFF
    184
    Absolutely Not. I would never consider under going this procedure to lose just 20-70 lbs. Even if I had all that extra money burning a hole in my wallet.

    I'd rather put in the hard work and learn to have a healthy relationship with my food and how to properly care for my body than to have surgery done (even minor surgery) than try to resort these "quick fixes" that are not so quick and could potentially pose unknown risks and complications.

    But to each their own. If someone else were to chose this option for their weight loss, more power to them! - 4/22/2012   8:25:12 PM
  • 183
    Wow - this will not be a popular opinion, but here it goes. I have had two surgeries - a lap-band almost 5 years ago and last year a revision from that surgery (to remove the lap-band) and do a vertical sleeve. For those of you not in on the lingo - vertical sleeve = my stomach is now the basic shape and size of a banana. Very serious, very permanent.

    At my heaviest, 5'2" and 235 pound (WAY chubby, fat, fluffy - whatever your word for it is), I was working with a trainer, running 5Ks and working up to running a half marathon. Except for a struggle with sugar, and yes, I still battle that devil, I did and do eat a healthy diet. And yet I was not losing and weighed that much. It was so frustrating - and thus the surgeries.

    First and foremost - many of you are right. It is about making permanent lifestyle changes. But not everyone gets results with just that. I am living proof. And yes, you can "eat around" every kind of surgery they come up with. The surgery is a tool - not a fix. Just like every person in the world wanting to lose weight - it is a mental challenge as much as anything else.

    Second - anyone who goes in to weight loss surgery thinking it is a ticket to the easy life and smaller sizes is delusional! I have to think about every bite that crosses my lips - every day, every meal. I HAVE to make sure I get in at least 60 - 80 grams of protein every day or risk quick health issues and hair loss (my vanity issue). This is not easy - again, this is a way of life. And I am beyond grateful that I have SparkPeople to help me track each of those bites.

    Today, I weight 177 lbs with a goal of getting to the 140's. I generally lose about 1 lb a week but I am stuck on a plateau right now - JUST like everyone is at some point on this journey at some point.

    That said, don't be too quick to judge someone who chooses the surgery route. While it is not for everyone and the decision is difficult and personal, surgeries like mine or like this one can be a great TOOL to have in your arsenal. The person who pursues it must make sure they can live with the new way of thinking and living - and take the time to do all the required psych evals and prep-work to make the procedure worth it. - 4/22/2012   2:10:06 PM
  • 182
    This surgery might benefit specific individuals--say, unable to lose that 25 lbs and suffering from severe back pain--but for most people it seems like a bad idea. As Indy-girl writes so convincingly on this site, one must do the heavy lifting of changing how one relates to one's body and oneself.

    Never mind the cost (no small thing considering how our country is being bankrupted by health care), never mind the risk of anesthesia--it won't be a long-lasting change without the psychological and behavioral work. The weight will come back--even if it doesn't, the person will remain alienated from her or his body. - 4/22/2012   12:44:25 PM
  • LILYMCGEHEE
    181
    I know of at least 4 people who have done this and the physical and mental change has been the same for all of these women. They have not stuck to a minimal exercise regimen. I have observed them eating things that their surgeon would not approve of. They have lost a lot of muscle mass and seem ambivalent to where they are now. I see very little on their part to manage stress and commit to lifestyle changes. 3 out of 4 have gained at least 30 lbs back if not more. The one male I do know has gained ALL the weight back. These individuals are ALL healthcare professionals. As for chronic conditions I think it depends on the will of the person, I have seen individuals whom all their lives have made excuses due to their diabetes, mental illness, addictions, etc. and have seen them lose weight. While there are others that are disabled but who has caregivers that ensure they are eating a well balanced diet to ensure that what physical and mental abilities they have left are preserved for as long as they can be. - 4/22/2012   12:18:52 PM
  • KATHYMARIE17
    180
    they've been doing this surgery overseas for a long time...I was offered this surgery in Dubai by my Gastroenterologist, but said "no". I opted for lapband surgery (which was cheaper than this by the way) and am doing wonderfully...16 lbs in 6 weeks!!! - 4/22/2012   7:36:45 AM
  • 179
    I think the article is good motivation to keep on sparking. No. Not only is the price tag to high, but the risk of surgery, and the fact that the patient might end up just stretching the stomach if better lifestyle choices are not made, ultimately leading to regaining the weight, I think this surgery is not such a good idea. - 4/22/2012   1:33:50 AM
  • 178
    No I would not. Bottom line is still the same less calories than the body need = weight loss, which can be done without surgery. - 4/21/2012   10:41:45 PM
  • HEMAMALINI100
    177
    I would love to loose 20 pounds, but never consider surgery. I'll rather exercise, eat healthy and and get some advise from a pro. - 4/21/2012   9:27:20 PM
  • 176
    I imagine that having spent that kind of money on surgery might help you focus on your diet afterwards. At least for awhile. Why not just join SP for free, and use the $11,000 to buy a new car (or whatever).

    I'd never consider having surgery unless it was absolutely necessary. - 4/21/2012   6:32:11 PM
  • 175
    Desperation causes many to do things they ordinarily would not consider. There have been multiple times I have looked for an "easier, softer way"; the truth is lifestyle changes amount to a changed life.

    Kathy - 4/21/2012   3:07:24 PM
  • 174
    I would never consider surgery. It scares me too much. - 4/21/2012   1:39:00 PM
  • 173
    I don't think weight loss surgery is for me. I have a lot to lose, but the right way for me to handle it is through diet and exercise. I by no means think weight loss surgery is a quick fix. That's actually part of why it's not right for me. I don't think there are any quick fixes, and I have much to learn on this journey that I might miss doing it that way. Also, the risks are too scary for me. - 4/21/2012   12:33:10 PM
  • 172
    I wouldn't. This procedure sounds quite icky and I just couldn't do that to my body. - 4/21/2012   12:02:17 PM
  • CKWAYLAND
    171
    No, I would rather do it the "old fashion" way of eating better and exercising regularly. I'm too scared of the what if factor. What if something went wrong? I have a little girl that I need to be a good example for. What am I teaching her if I take the easy way out or get terribly sick because of an infection? - 4/21/2012   11:39:04 AM
  • 170
    It seems by these other comments that there is a segment of the population that is having a hard time due to their own personal issues (inability to exercise, health conditions, small stature) that they would consider the surgery. Personally yes, I think its kind of risky and drastic, but I want to offer that there are other changes you could make that are less risky for those who are "going by the book" but aren't seeing anymore weight loss. Especially those with 30lbs and less to lose.

    CHANGE YOUR DIET! For years and years I followed the rules and ate exactly how all the experts advised and though I lost a few pounds I plateaued just above my normal weight BMI. I exercise in the pretty high active category. Doing 5K's, triathlons and swimming on an adult swim team 8 hours a week, but I was stuck. Then a doctor convinced me that there is not one diet for everyone and I needed to find one that worked with my body, but most important I need to go plant-based. Yes, thats right, I gave up all meat, dairy, cheese, butter. I eventually found my rhythm in the "diet" and 2 years later am at my ideal body weight, just trying to tone up. I ended up giving up a few others foods that didn't agree with me including most oils and processed carbs.

    I'm not saying a plant-based diet is for everyone, but if you've tried everything else I wish you'd try this too. It's far less drastic than surgery and the rewards are much more plentiful to your overall health!
    ________________________________
    _____

    Height: 5'9"
    Weight: 140
    BMI: 20.7
    Total Cholesterol: 118
    Blood Pressure: 110/60

    Plant-Strong Dr.McDougall-er and proud of it! - 4/21/2012   11:31:58 AM
  • 169
    No Surgery to lose weight, and no diet pills either. Just learning how to eat right, that way it will stay off. - 4/21/2012   10:52:02 AM
  • 168
    I had lapband surgery two years ago and am down about 40 pounds. Although that doesn't sound like much, I've been on steroids for most of that time due to a knee injury and am waiting until the time/insurance/wallet align for knee replacement. Since I've been almost totally sedentary in that time except for the walking I do at work, I shudder to think what I would look like if I had not had surgery. My calorie intake is roughly 1200 to 1500 a day and I have another 120 pounds to lose. Would I have had surgery to lose 20 pounds? Probably not. 30-40 pounds? Maybe. 50-70? Definitely! Don't presume to judge someone else's reasons for surgery, though! 20 pounds on a small-boned 5' woman is a lot of weight, about a fifth of her IBW in fact. That sounds like trifle to me but to her could be a major health factor. If, on the other hand, someone has the surgery for vanity issues, it's the doctor who ought to be smacked upside the head with a tire tool, not the Kardashian wanna-be having the surgery. - 4/21/2012   10:44:35 AM
  • 167
    Absolutely not! That's the quick fix! Not to mention the years of kidney problems, gallbladder problems, etc. Get your tail in the gym and restocked your fridge. - 4/21/2012   10:29:14 AM
  • 166
    I would not have surgery to lose 20, 40, 60, even 70 pounds. That's nuts! And I definitely would not be willing to spend upwards of $11,000 plus travel expenses to have this procedure without a guarantee of life-long results. I don't do unnecessary surgeries. I better be dying to decide to have surgery!
    - 4/21/2012   10:22:56 AM
  • 165
    Let me see. I could pay $12,000 to lose 5 pounds a month or work out regularly and feed my body wholesome nutritious foods without overindulging and lose that same 5 pounds a month. Since I work out at home or outdoors and eating properly costs less for me in money (it does cost more in time) than eating junk I'd probably save a couple hundred bucks a month so I'm looking at about $13,000 extra dollars in my pocket. I could do a lot with $13,000.

    That said I don't even have to go into the dangers of ANY surgery no matter how "non-invasive" and I don't have to discuss the feelings of empowerment I get from taking charge of one area of my life or how regular exercise really helps with my depression. If there was a simple procedure that cost $2,000 or less I'd have to weigh pros and cons but I think that since I don't really have much difficulty losing weight by just behaving sensibly* I'd still give the surgery a pass. - 4/21/2012   8:44:00 AM
  • 164
    Duplicate post and there doesn't seem to be any way to delete it. Sorry. - 4/21/2012   8:43:59 AM
  • 163
    No. An opinion but not my rationale.... I have seen too many who regain the weight because no lifestyle changes ensued. - 4/20/2012   7:12:43 PM
  • 162
    I have to be honest, I'd consider it. I lost about 20 pounds during my first year on Sparkpeople, but haven't be able to get the scale to move since. I need to lose about 30 more pounds just to get to a "normal" BMI. I do everything by the book -- exercise, keep food journal, eat healthy, treat myself once in awhile, try new exercises so my body doesn't get too used to its routine, don't use food as a crutch or a reward. I'm only 5'0 so my body just doesn't need that many calories to do its thing. I feel that if I could just have help losing 20 pounds, it would make such a difference. - 4/20/2012   3:35:41 PM
  • MYIANANGEL
    161
    YES! YES! YES! I have yo-yo dieted my whole life!! I am so sick of losing 30 pounds, putting them back on and losing them again! Been a cycle for me for more than 20 years. Now that I am 42 have a thyroid condition and am in menopause I only see things as getting harder and harder as I age. I work out 5 days a week, at least 45 minutes, and try to watch what I eat 6 out of 7 days and have spent the past year gaining and losing 5 pounds. Ya...I would most certainly have it done. - 4/20/2012   3:13:34 PM

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